HP Sells the Palm Brand to Alcatel Onetouch (UPDATED)

According to a recent post over on WebOSNation website, HP has sold the Palm brand to the Chinese firm Alcatel Onetouch.

“We’ve been wondering for a while what is up with Palm.com domain, and it’s looking more and more certain that HP sold the brand and trademarks to Alcatel Onetouch. The first hints of this came from the teaser when the website started redirecting to mynewpalm.com, with a looping video of the Palm logo with the text “coming soon” and “smart move” beneath. “Smart move,” as it would be, is the slogan of Chinese smartphone manufacturer Alcatel Onetouch (a brand of Chinese electronics firm TCL). That’s not exactly a lot to go off of though, but it was enough to raise suspicions.”

The “coming soon” and “smart move” text and logo is actually a looping video file called “palm_animated5.mp4”.  Oddly, the video didn’t play on my iPhone 6 when I used it to surf to the mynewpalm.com website.  (It did work on my Mac with Safari 8.)

As a long, long time Palm fan boy I’m hoping that something good will come of the Palm brand.

UPDATE:

Upon further consideration, there are a few things that are still up in the air for Palm webOS fans.

1. I almost forgot that LG has purchased WebOS to power their line of Smart+ television sets.

2. I wonder what impact the sale of the Palm brand on LG, the Open WebOS project, and Gram (which is still online at gram.com) might be, if any.

3. What is to become of the HP/Palm webOS App Catalog store?  According to the WebOS Wikipedia page, the App Catalog site will go offline in 15 days on Jan. 15, 2015.

[Via WebOSNation.com…]

LG Acquires webOS, Assets and Employees

You have *got* to be kidding me!

“LG announced at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, that it has purchased HP’s webOS Global Business Unit. The deal reportedly includes all of the patents, employees, and source code associated with the operating system originally developed by Palm.”

webOS.  Now under new management.  (Again.)  So who knows what the fate of webOS Community Edition, Open webOS, and Gram will be.

Installing Palm’s Tasks App on Your TouchPad

Yesterday, Ryan St. Andrie, of webOSNation.com, posted an article on installing the webOS Tasks application from a Pre or Pixi smartphone on your TouchPad tablet.  Tasks, unbelievably, is an application that never made it into webOS 3.0.  You can read the full story over on webOSNation.com.

The steps outlined in the article work well enough.  I did run into some *minor* problems while packing up the Tasks app for installation on my TouchPad.  The first issue was how to deal with the .jar webOS Doctor file that contains the Tasks application that I wanted to install.  The second issue was where do a copy the Task application to once I got it on my TouchPad.

Issue 1: Working with the .jar webOS Doctor file

webOS Doctor files, shipped as Java .jar files, are essentially hard reset files that allow you to reset and reload a clean copy of webOS on your device.  The article calls for opening the .jar file with a PC compression utility like WinRAR.  I’ve used WinRAR before…on my PC.  As I said, I’m using a Mac now.

Without thinking, I loaded up Parallels, launched my Windows 7 virtual machine, and was off to the races as they say.  But what if you don’t have Paralles, VMware Fusion, or a copy of Windows hanging around?  The solution turns out to be very simple; rename the .jar file to .zip!  (I didn’t come up with that myself.  I found the solution here.  Thanks, cazlar!)  I did go back and test the rename-the-file trick and it does work.  Sweet!!

Also, once you get the .jar-now-a-.zip file open, here is the path you have to navigate to find the Tasks folder.  I am going to assume that you are using the unlocked Pre2 webOS 2.2.4 Doctor file.

webosdoctorp224pre2wr.jar > resources > webOS.tar > .\nova-cust-image-roadrunner.rootfs.tar.gz > .\usr > palm > applications > com.palm.app.tasks

Issue 2: Moving the Tasks app

Once you have installed the repackaged Tasks .IPK file on your TouchPad, you have to move it to the Linux partition for Palm’s built-in webOS applications because Tasks is a system application and not a third-party application.

If you are reading the webOSNations article carefully, you will know that you will need to move the Tasks app folder from the path:

/media/cryptofs/apps/usr/palm/applications/com.palm.tasks

to:

/usr/palm/applications/com.palm.tasks

The thing that tripped me up was the screen shot that was provided was of the first path, not the second.  Just be aware of that when you go to move the com.palm.tasks folder.

After rebooting my TouchPad, Tasks was up and running in the webOS smartphone emulator on my tablet!

The entire process took about an hour for me to complete.  Times will vary depending on how much software needs to be downloaded, updated, or installed on your Mac, PC, and TouchPad.

[Via webOSNation.com…]

HP’s “Bender” Smartphone Prototype

Last Friday many mobile new websites, including BGR.com, reported that HP has aspirations to build another line of smartphones.

Today, BGR ran another story indicating that not only are plans underway to develop a new line of smartphones, that a test device, code named “Bender”, has already been created and is being tested.  The kicker?  The prototype device is said to be running Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) operating system.

Huh?  After HP ingloriously put Palm webOS, Palm’s hardware, and people out to pasture HP is trying to jump start things again with an Android phone?  I’m sure this is very frustrating for WebOS’s fans.  HP said that they wanted to get out of the smartphone business when they shutdown production of the Pre3, Veer, and TouchPad – the last three webOS devices – and then making webOS open source.

Then a year later, things are going gang busters again?  This seems totally inefficient to have a smartphone and mobile OS division up and running, shuttering things, and then rebuilding a hardware and software team to, essentially, re-inventing the wheel with a new hardware platform and Android ICS.

To be fair, I can see why HP decided to go with Android over their in-house webOS hardware and software software assets.  Android, and Apple’s iOS, have gobbled up an insane amount of marketshare in the mobile space.  webOS, even in it’s hay day, back in 2009 when the original Palm Pre launched on Sprint, never achieved a significant foothold.  When I chose to switch from the Sprint Palm Pre to the iPhone 4S in 2011, webOS was below 2% marketshare.  If you are trying to become relevant in the smartphone space, you need an option that will draw customers, developers, and carriers to your platform.  webOS isn’t that platform.  Just ask Nokia, Research in Motion (RIM), and Microsoft about their efforts to increase their smartphone marketshare.

But, seriously? This seems like a gigantic waste of time, money, staff resources, and momentum.  Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, and RIM have all realized that they need to control the customer experience “end-to-end” from the hardware and software, to the online software store, and ultimately, the customer experience.  This tight integration has propelled Apple and Google to amazing heights and others are trying to replicate it.  Palm, with webOS and their webOS device line up, offered the kind of solution that HP is trying to fabricate with Android and new hardware.

If I was an HP shareholder, I would be furious at the opportunity costs associated with tearing everything down, and then, essentially, outsourcing the software development to Google, and ultimately, putting Google in the driver’s seat for the software development of HP’s new ‘gotta do it’ smartphone strategy.

At the end of the day, the only thing that is clear for me, is that I won’t be replacing my iPhone 4S with a new HP smartphone.  I’ve made my peace with webOS and will remember Palm fondly.

Labor Day Mobile Games Sale Is ON!!

It’s Labor Day weekend here in the United States and that means there there are some good sales going on for some great mobile games – to help you NOT labor.

Gameloft and Electronic Arts have many games in Apple’s App Store on sale for $0.99.

Atari and APPODAY are running a promotion on the Atari’s Greatest Hits game for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.  You can download the complete 99-game pack for FREE between August 31 – September 1!  Better get cracking, as this offer expires TODAY!  Once you download the games to your iOS device, you can have unlimited play until you delete the Atari’s Greatest Hits games off your device. Once you do, you have to pay $9.99 for all the games, or $0.99 for a game pack.

Astraware HP TouchPad Word Games on Sale

Astraware, a long time creator of mobile games is running a promotion for their HP TouchPad webOS word games. For more details, checkout the HP App Catalog or the Astraware HP TouchPad word games website.

Thanks to RobT for the tip!

webOS Homebrew: onTap Community Magazine

Who expected that in August 2012 I’d be writing about webOS again?  Not me.  But once again the small but dedicated Palm webOS community has surprised me.

I was playing with my HP/alm TouchPad and came across the ‘Homebrew Pivot’ patch from the webOS onTap Community Magazine project while browsing Preware.

Once the small patch is applied to your webOS device, the HP App Catalog Pivot feed is modified to point at the onTap magazine feed.  You can download and install the Tweaks patch, also available in Preware, to enable or disable the onTap patch and toggle the HP Pivot feed with the onTap homebrew feed.

Right now the onTap writing team is putting the finishing touches on their first issue and should be out in the next week or two.  I’ll be sure to post an update article when the feed goes live and the first issue is published.  The sample pages (see below) that have been developed by the onTap writing staff look just as polished and professional as did the content developed by HP.

As a long time fan of Palm (and Palm support forums moderator and blogger and podcaster) and their products, I’m really interested to see what the editorial staff at onTap has, well, on tap, for us.  (Sorry, about the obligatory pun.)

For more information, there are a number of places you can check out online:

Website: http://www.webosontap.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/webOSonTap/
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/webOSonTap
Google+: https://plus.google.com/103118434017670797778/

webOS Nations Forums

HP’s Pivot Spring issue

onTap’s Place Holder on the TouchPad

onTap Preview Screen Shots

HP/Palm TouchPad Unboxing

My refurbished HP Palm TouchPad 32GB unit arrived yesterday afternoon.  About all I was able to do with it was unbox it and charge it up.  I’ve started playing with it today and I’ll be blogging more about it over the next few days, but for now, here are my unboxing photos.  They may not be sexy, but at least I have a TouchPad now.

If you had forgotten that you purchased a refurbished unit, HP will remind you.

Refurbished packing material is so unsexy.  The TouchPad is held in place by two foam blocks and the accessories are stuffed in to the slot on the left.

At least the TouchPad is shipped in the same protective film that new units are shipped in.  If you’ve unpacked an iPad, it’s the same kind of plastic film.

Here we have the TouchPad, the power adapter and sync cable (similar to the ones shipped with the Pre series smartphones) and a cardboard box that contains the getting started guides, and obligatory legalese documents.  The box reads, “Now comes the fun part.”

HP WindsorNot webOS Smartphone

I liked my original Sprint Pre, but I would have much preferred a device like the unreleased WindsorNot.  This is just another shadow of a device that we’ll never get to play with.  Sad, so sad.

I was never a huge fan of Palm’s sliders, despite having purchased the Palm Pre, Tungsten T3 and Tungsten T on launch day for all three devices.  (I also built my own Tungsten T2 from OEM spare parts!!)

On second though, the WindsorNot looks a lot like a Pre3 without the slider.

[Via WebOSNation.com…]